VSP identifies troopers killed in helicopter crash near Charlottesville

Woman killed Charlottesville crash identified

The Associated Press later reported that "Officials say the deaths of two people in a helicopter crash near Charlottesville, Virginia, have been linked to a violent white nationalist rally earlier in the day".

At 4:51 p.m., Saturday (Aug. 12), a Virginia State Police Bell 407 helicopter crashed into a wooded area near a residence on Old Farm Road in Albemarle County.

Jay Cullen and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates died at the scene.

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Bates has family living in Knoxville.

In the Charlottesville crash, Ohio man James Alex Fields Jr. was charged with second-degree murder after running into a crowd of people.

"It lost some parts, [they] seemed to fly off, and then it came down relatively quickly", he said.

Cullen, 48, graduated from the Virginia State Police Academy in 1994 as a member of the 90th Basic Session. "This is a devastating loss for their families, the Virginia State Police, and the entire commonwealth. It was not immediately clear how the crash was connected to the rally". "Berke was devoted to our entire family as part of our Executive Protective Unit team for the past three years". He first joined the Virginia State Police Aviation Unit in 1999.

The unit is staffed by Trooper-Pilots, all of whom are sworn members of the Department, are qualified "Police Pilots", and have private pilots' licenses.

Med-Flight/Medevac - operates from the Chesterfield and Abingdon bases with operation costs shared with our healthcare partners: VCU Medical Center, Chesterfield County Fire and EMS, Wellmont Health Systems, Colonial Heights Fire and Rescue, Henrico County Fire and Rescue, and City of Bristol, Virginia Police. The unit also employs three full-time mechanics for its fleet and exceeds minimum FAA maintenance requirements. Our hearts go out to their wives and children, and we stand by to support them during this difficult time. He graduated from the Virginia State Police Academy in August 2004 as a member of the 107 Basic Session. One person was killed and at least two dozen were hurt.

Deepest condolences to the families & fellow officers of the VA State Police who died today. "You're all among the best this nation produces", he tweeted Saturday.

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